tv [untitled] December 22, 2011 4:01pm-4:31pm EST
tell you why more american soldiers are dying on the home front than in the battlefield. and more bloodshed in syria as arab league monitors arrive in that war torn country today hundreds more die in what human rights activists describe as an organized massacre. as thursday december twenty second four pm in washington d.c. and i'm liz wahl and you're watching r.t. . now that all american troops are officially out of iraq a look now at the u.s. legacy left behind nearly a decade later eight hundred billion dollars spent almost five thousand american military deaths and nearly one million iraqi civilians killed many say iraq is no better off today than it was before the u.s. invaded it
a recent survey shows overall iraqis feel their country is in worse shape because of the war six in ten iraqis fear a possible civil war increased foreign influence from neighbors terrorist attacks and a bleak economic outlook who that benefited from the war certainly not iraqis according to the poll when asked who benefited fifty four percent of iraqis say the united states fifty eight percent say saudi arabia and fifty percent say iran only four percent say the iraqi people benefited the most from the war but president obama is touting the pullout as a victory if a failed promise he made during his campaign one of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of the american military will come to want iraq's future will be in the hands of its people america's war in iraq will be old.
but just today several bombs rocked baghdad killing at least sixty nine people the explosions appear to have hit mostly shiite sections of the city it's the worst violence iraq has seen and months no one has claimed responsibility but it's believed the insurgents are behind it here you are looking at scenes from the chaos today ambulances and police rushing from seemed to scene and smoke clouds billowing out of the various blast sites as many as twelve bombs exploded in what was clearly an organized attack so amid the increased violence what did the u.s. a really accomplish in the war in iraq and to help me analyze this i'm joined now by brian bakker national coordinator of the answer coalition welcome brian thank you so a decade of fighting in hopes of bringing democracy and freedom to the country has the us come even close to accomplishing this well i don't think those were the real objectives of the united states those are the slogans under which the bush administration carried out the invasion in march two thousand and three it was
a prieto as an excuse can ever say well we're invading a country occupying a country bombing a country because we want to dominate the region dominated vast oil resources in the case of iraq the united states has been at war against iraq not simply since march two thousand and three when the us invaded but since august nine hundred ninety when the u.s. imposed economic sanctions on iraq and the identified regime change then and later as its primary goal during the period of the sink sions prior to the invasion in march two thousand and three according to the you wanted zone statistics a million people mainly babies in their grandparents the most vulnerable died because the united states government as a matter of policy deprived their country of food and medicine this is a twenty year long war and despite all of that president obama is handling this as a victory he promised to get the troops out before the end of the year he is fulfilling that promise so this really be considered a victory or is it all part of a political. game you know as the elections near well it's not
a victory for the united states the the goal was to impose in baghdad. a pliable quiet regime in a country that had been pacified so the united states could not only dominate its oil but have a main client in this oil rich region that's clearly not the case most importantly though it's been a great national tragedy for the people of iraq not only have maybe more than a million died hundreds of thousands certainly but five million people were made into refugees almost every family has somebody they lost there's tons of widows and orphans in iraq and the country's been shredded along ethno sectarian lines previously unified country is now fighting itself as a consequence of the u.s. strategy was which was to divide and conquer joseph biden the vice president appointed by bush to be the point man for a record he himself was the advocate of the partition of iraq the breaking up of the country. and that appears to be what we are seeing today amid the bombings
we're going to talk a little bit more about that in a little bit first i want to play a clip from you from senator john mccain and his reaction to the removal of troops there so it was pretty obvious that if we did not have a residual force there that things could unravel very quickly all of us knew that the president campaigned saying he would bring around the end of the war there's already good propaganda out there called promises kept and he made some very interesting comments about we're leaving behind a stable iraq which we knew is obviously not true we needed the residual force here it's not there things are unraveling tragically. so senator mccain he's essentially saying that it was a mistake to bring all the troops home he's calling it a political strategy so this kind of implies that he he believes that troops should still be there on the ground and iraq how do you feel about mccain advocating this
in death. occupation of iraq well it's the height of imperial arrogance the united states has no right to station its troops in a country that doesn't want them furthermore the united states wanted to keep military forces in iraq but the iraqi government refused to grant those troops immunity extraterritoriality immune from iraqi laws and so the pentagon as it did here as it always does when it fails to get immunity for its soldiers took them out but let's not forget that there are sixteen thousand staff members in the new state department embassy in downtown baghdad a compound larger than all other compounds in american diplomatic history it's the size of ninety four football fields as one and a half square miles half of those sixteen thousand staff people will be armed guards in other words a private army of mercenaries and contractors so the united states really hasn't left not with a force that big in downtown baghdad a country that's relatively small well today we saw the deadliest day in iraq in a long time and this is charlie after it the u.s.
pulled out most of their troops is this a preview of things to come well you see the movie government is already at war against different sunni political forces those that they say were linked to the resistance in iraq against the american occupation or have some ties to the old back this government clearly the dawa party the ruling party in iraq has its own narrow political agenda it is a sectarian agenda it is discriminatory against the sunni muslims and against other sectors of the population including the kurds what we see now is the breakup of all formerly unified country so that this kind of thing is predictable sadly for the iraqi people the division of the country along these lines could lead to a renewed kind of civil war something that was absent prior to the american occupation to the extent that there's a civil war in iraq the blood that will flow from it is on the hands of george w. bush dick cheney and of course those who came after him. including those from the
obama administration that was their policy and you know earlier we're presented these statistics. portrays the way that the iraqis feel about the war after the u.s. has pulled out and a very very small percentage of iraqis feel that they benefited from the war who did benefit from this war well of course american military contractors hello burton those who got the big contracts for the reconstruction during the occupation forces they made a lot of money the pentagon generally made a lot of money spent two trillion dollars i think that's the real budget then all that money goes to american contractors and corporations they profit but four thousand five hundred plus american soldiers died tens of thousands had life changing rooms you know as you'll report there are rising tide of american suicides among some american military people who've been deployed over and over again and the big losers are of course the iraqi people they lived at peace they had
a nationally unified country they had relative affluence for the region women had rights relative to the region a lot of that has been shattered and is gone and it may take generations to recover now what people are going to say that want to tout maybe some of the positive things that came out of the war the death of saddam hussein this is a big year for death of dictators the death of osama bin ladin and these people would argue that the world is safer. without these dictators in place what is your response to that well i think that's rubbish basically i think the united states government does not have the right by international law or international law to decide what government leader lives and who dies if the united states government is allowed that kind of power which apparently it's arrogating to it so then the whole world is unsafe and there's no such thing as the so-called rule of law or certainly international law of the iraqi people are not better off than they were under saddam hussein you can be a political opponent of saddam. hussein but just have an objective faculty to
recognize that their country was in great shape compared to the way it is now and what they have to look forward to is not jobs and free education and free housing or affordable housing all of those things which existed during the old regime in spite of its political defects that's all been taken away from the iraqi people brian thank you so much for weighing in on this that was brian bakker national coordinator of the answer coalition. well the thousands of lives lost is perhaps the biggest cost of the war in iraq but it turns out the biggest enemy may not be insurgents and may not be terrorists but u.s. soldiers themselves suicide rates among us soldiers and veterans today are soaring and for the second year in a row more soldiers killed themselves than were killed on the battlefield and many servicemen that become victims never even leave the u.s. soil it's leading some to argue that there is something going on in the military experience that is driving soldiers to commit suicide many come back with severe
depression post-traumatic stress disorder and face challenges assimilating back into civilian life i think a look at the suicide epidemic plaguing servicemen and women today and what may be behind it. being in this environment. it's killing us soldiers but surprisingly the biggest killers are not enemy combatants unfortunately in the demographic in the united states it kills itself pretty much more than any other over there for the second year in a row more soldiers killed themselves than were killed in combat four hundred sixty eight soldiers took their own lives in two thousand and ten even off the battlefield suicide rates continue to soar matha sure rose in afghanistan war veteran turn anti-war activists we come home feeling terrible despicable about what we did and what we saw sure roe is one of thousands returning from deployment feeling detached and conflicted the laws of decency don't apply to soldiers in
combat and when you go back to having to apply those last yourself all the time. you know that for many you know leads you to the grave or to jail an average of eighteen veterans per day commit suicide and many more attempted last year twenty percent of the thirty thousand american suicides was a soldier. or better at it kind of cumulated in. disaster. in that you really start to wonder if you're ever going to be who you were again dr jan kemp says many soldiers come back feeling disconnected from the world in which they once lived then all of a sudden they're there back things happened in their families while they were gone the situation they can come back to is not often the same one that they left in fact many come back to bleak situations
a quarter of the homeless in america are military veterans the unemployment rate among vets hovers over twelve percent meanwhile campaigns such as army strong glorify life as a soldier and aim to entice america's young men and women to enlist. in the. group since retiring from the army sharon has been committed to showing students the other side of the army experience the side recruiters fail to show it's all part of the we are not your soldiers tour his message is clear don't don't become one of us. and he hopes that message will prevent students from turning into a statistic from washington liz wahl. and the war veteran profiled in that story is here to talk more about this antiwar activist mathis sure roe joins us now
welcome out this so we are seeing these skyrocketing suicide rates on this is the cover of the express today another soldier a victim of suicide why are we seeing these skyrocketing rates. well you touched on a little bit in your piece as you know the kinds of things that soldiers are up to around the world are really in many cases nearly impossible to come back from. the face of war has changed the types of soldiers the u.s. produces have changed you know we're not talking about the reluctant citizen soldier archetype of old we're talking about a new kind of soldier that's coming back from combat combat you know overseas in wars that we can't honestly say have made us safer and that many of us consider wars of aggression and criminal. being
a veteran is perhaps one of the most alienating feelings in this country. and you just said i'm sorry to interrupt you you did experience it firsthand i want to ask you on what it's like to go back to civilian society after being at war. well it's not just being at war but certainly being at war contributes quite a bit. i think the most difficult thing i've struggled with and i didn't really spend that much time in combat but you don't have to spend very long in these war zones at all to be deeply affected by them. it was for me it's been the children. you know i remember seeing a lot of children in iraq i mean not in iraq and iraq war resister refused orders to iraq but in afghanistan certainly when i was riding around on those convoys i can still remember the faces of the children who stared at me over my rifle so
kids of been difficult for me just being able just understanding that i have been desensitized to a level of violence that most people are very uncomfortable with and things that seem normal for me to even talk about in passing are normal for folks and tend to me. often times and it's a shame. you know. even you know recently it was a personal tragedy in a way it feels with some very dear friends of mine and i i offended you know not trying to be offensive or anything but their kids found out i was in the military and they asked me what i thought about i said i didn't like the military because the military kills people and to me that thought is so normal but that's not something that's normal to society you know something that is interesting about this study is that a lot of those that become victims of suicide they don't even leave us soil so they
weren't even immersed in combat yet they still something about being at this military experience that they're struggling with that can you talk a little bit about that. why it affects people that don't even go into combat. well the military by its very design is a traumatizing institution. really i think the best way to describe the approach is that the military seeks to make soldiers at least like you know ground troops i can really speak for the army most specifically the army seeks to make the lives of its soldiers even in combat miserable to the point that being in combat wouldn't seem like that big of a deal so you're talking about a system that traumatizes people and we know that and in the united states in a way it's glorified we see it in movies everybody has an idea of what what happens
in basic training i think even the kids i speak to in high school that are considering the service have an idea that the military traumatizes people now they don't usually they don't usually know about the specifics they don't understand you know the specifics of the kind of like sexual trauma for example that they can experience in the military they don't maybe know the specifics of post-traumatic stress disorder but they know that the military is not a friendly environment and unfriendly environments create very unfriendly people and unfriendly people wind up alienated and alone and that to me the feeling in the lone have been the most dangerous states i found myself in as a veteran and so today you are dedicated to showing the youth today's youth the other side of the war the other side of joining the military that perhaps military recruiters show why do you think it's important to get this message out.
well because. the realities of these wars haven't sunk in here and in fact in many cases the schools have been deficient in their duty to teach kids the realities of current events and the realities of american foreign policy. you know i guess i read i've written recently read an article about an iraqi child who for the last ten years as lived with explosions so much that he reported he didn't even. if you know get scared explosions that much anymore yet children here have no idea that those are the kinds of realities being imposed. by americans on children in other countries and so what they are seeing instead is propaganda written by the military advertising products trying to sell themselves to these kids because you
know they consist of to them the next generation of war fighters and literally the front lines are the high schools military recruiters prey off of children prey off of their insecurities perhaps their economic status be they from poor families and things like that and they try and sell a product which is essentially death. and has not just the potential to you know kill somebody who joins or lead them to kill somebody else but the military permanently alters people who become a part of it and then try and leave it you know it's it's they don't understand that and it's and it's heartbreaking thank you so much for sharing your story with us that was war veteran an anti-war activist map a shout. and as u.s. troops wind down and iraq violence is asking leading and syria although the arab
league monitors have arrived there are economists economic sanctions against syria remain as r.t. sarah ferguson reports it's the ordinary people who are feeling the pain. it's been nearly ten months since syria's uprising began the capital of damascus is a mango as he sells it from the conflict in fact in the bustling sun so it seems like it's business as usual as one says it's in the winds of change have begun subliminal stronger the arab league's imposed tough economic sanctions the effects of which have been felt even hit in a poor area of damascus and her family struggling to make ends meet. learning the beauties of the beans for a living that he barely makes one hundred fifty three incomes a day three dollars to support him and he's really. now the fuel for his vending cart has become harder to get hold of with the economic sanctions i'm driving by i
said. there are less products available and the prices are pushed higher there's been fights over gas we've been trying to manage by cutting back as much as we can but sometimes when we can't afford it which is don't eat the economic situation in syria was one of the areas president that had been famous be making over. the for a population that it started seeing the results of economic opportunity. financial transactions. back out become the world got a preview of that up there they switch over our electricity every day for roughly two hours it affects business as when this happens we have to stop our. capital people are feeling the pain as the sanctions bite. the economic sanctions so it's just like taking. the one hit that. has become
part of the daily life of many people here in syria. because of the economic sanctions people rushed to stop cars fuel and gas just taste people are a little bit afraid of the fact that water or gas might hold out this is why you see these. this in place by the arab league at the state the sanction for the government hands when it came to any violence in the country because inside syria at the moment many feel it every day people are looking for. they could be even financial heads share prices in our stock market secret things to change. down affected by some lows for example of the capital of. banks in syria. could he use. his theory of the bank and affect it in directly decision the investors
those teens in the arab league will be paving the way you can observe the mission to at the end of the month. position they remain skeptical about whether that to bring about any change these coups have in the west of the conflict areas change can come in they mean to seeing compared to the families like. finding life and sanctions increasingly desperate. she tells us to do things the situation seems bad harriot there are many more people this is facing and worse she worries what will happen to her son and young family things are going to group safe all the sanctions haven't succeeded in convincing the regime to hold the conflicts thanks in the last few days haring group is going to crack down and. he should question now is whether the rival of the exact agreed and most of the sites is that who holds the
line and as to whether that will be the case the tell a big days outside and inside the country left in the. damascus. and while the assad regime cracks down on protesters in syria some scientists here in the us say the government is trying to censor about the government is asking scientists not of publish details of a bird flu study they are justifying the censorship by saying it could end up in the hands of terrorists the fear is that the information what helped terrorists use the virus against the american people the strain h five n one or the avian bird flu kills sixty percent of people infected but while humans can capture from birds it doesn't transfer easily from person to person but scientists did find a strain that is transmitted through the air and their experiments with ferrets and . this case researchers were deliberately trying to create a deadly superbug to better understand how it mutates in nature now the government
is asking them to keep the information under wraps but scientific journals are calling this censorship scientists have agreed to print down a watered down version of their results but the question remains is this the latest example of a crackdown on civil liberties over fears of terrorist threats. well the capital account is up next on our let's check in with laura lister to see what is the against today lauren hey there liz do you remember the jetsons in the flintstones cartoon probably around the time you're growing up i do remember ok good well it turns out there are great examples for us to look at the difference between the private sector and the public sector to have a great analogy of what is perhaps keeping the u.s. economy from growing we're going to look at that example as we look at some of the most recent figures u.s. g.d.p. revised down the u.s. debt moving faster than the g.d.p. listen as a result fitch than other ratings agency comes out and says hey this is not the
stuff that a aaa rated nation is made of we've heard it all before so we're going to get creative here and look at what is really going on well that is coming up next thanks laurin that's going to do it now for now for more on the stories we covered go to r.t. dot com slash usa and check out our youtube page it's youtube dot com slash r t america i'll be right back here at five.
. good afternoon and welcome to capital and alan i'm more in leicester here and washington d.c. and the u.s. g.d.p. gets revised down for the third quarter bad news for growth and bad news for the debt to g.d.p. ratio which sees the debt growing faster the ratings agency fitch warned the u.s. is debt burden is not the stuff of the aaa credit rating we've heard of before and as politicians argue back and forth about the payroll tax the bigger question how did we get here. don't you want to figure out when we are.